The rush is on to set up an Idaho lottery, and money has as much to do with the rush as a July deadline established by state officials.
Gov. Cecil Andrus said he will appoint five new lottery commissioners by mid-December - the first concrete step toward creating a state lottery that was approved by voters.Andrus says he hopes to "beat the six-month time frame" projected for getting the lottery going.
But the limited up-front budget of $1 million for start-up costs will play a big role in the speed devoted to the effort of establishing a lottery. The money will last only 18 months and the clock started ticking last Wednesday.
"The lottery must be a self-sustaining enterprise before the $1 million line of credit is exhausted," said state Attorney General Jim Jones. "It will be a challenge to meet this mandate."
That money must cover staff salaries, travel costs and pay for office space equipment and supplies. Jones said the money limit provides an incentive toward getting the lottery rolling quickly.
Officials say one delay will be the two-to-three-month process of hearings on and publication of the lottery rules. And given Idaho's small population, there is an incentive to join another state's lottery.
"Oregon is the geographic ally we would look to," Andrus said.
Another hurdle for the lottery commission will be choosing among competitors for a limited number of lottery ticket outlets. The law does not define how many outlets will be allowed, where they will be located or how to choose among competing merchants.